What can I do about a student loan fraud? 3 Answers as of December 11, 2013Back in 2010, I received a letter in the mail from Sallie Mae saying that I was now solely responsible for a parent plus student loan that my mother and sister had taken out for my sister to attend graduate school. My mother was placed as the borrower and my sister was the student. I explained to Sallie Mae that I did NOT co sign for this loan and they needed to send me documentation with my signature. When the promissory note arrived, it was 100% obvious that this was forged. My middle initial was even wrong. I called again to report this fraud. They would not speak to me until I had a police report. At the time I was hesitant to do so without the guidance of a lawyer. I was working part time as a receptionist and was not able to afford a lawyer. I called my sister (mom does not speak English) and asked what this was about and to straighten this out with Sallie Mae. Nothing was resolved. She explained that I was not supposed to be the cosigner rather just a reference, but Sallie Mae would not let me go as a cosigner. She continued to make payments. I needed to save up for a lawyer. In July of 2012, I was fortunate enough to find a lawyer that would be able to help resolve this. Because we were dealing with family members, we did not file a police report. After about a year, the harassing calls stopped and the loan is not on my account anymore, however this loan is in collections and shows up on all my credit reports. It seems dormant now but I want this resolved and out of my life and not live in fear that this will resurface later on.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Sadly, the only way you ay be able to get this matter fully resolved is to file a police report and have charges brought against the family member who forged your signature. You have to understand that Sallie Mae does not know that your signature was forged. The fact that you won't pursue criminal action, leads them to believe that perhaps your signature was written with your consent. They don't know. I suspect that this is a substantial claim amount, and certainly sitting on your credit report, it will have a negative impact upon you and your ability to borrow money in the future. What about your sister?? You don't say why she is not paying. Sallie Mae student loans are nondischargeable in bankruptcy..... in other words, bankruptcy won't get rid of them.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
If you hired a lawyer, he should be handling this for you. If the loan is no longer on your account, then you can follow the normal procedures provided by credit agencies for clearing up these kinds of mistakes. If, however, Sallie Mae continues to assert that you are liable for the loan, then your lawyer should strongly contest this, by obtaining affidavits from your sister making clear that you did not co-sign the loan and were only used as a reference. If your sister won't sign the affidavits (and if I were her lawyer I might advise her not to do so), then you would need to file a police report because in reality, your sister did commit a fraud. If your family wants to avoid the possibility that your sister would be prosecuted, then your family should work together to come up with the money to pay the loan. Unfortunately, there are no short-cuts are easy magical solutions here.
Answer Applies to: New York